The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has sent letters to more than 300 Panamanian, Guatemalan, and Salvadorian companies to notify them about the dangers associated with using pirated software, the association said in a statement.
BSA's membership manager in Guatemala, Hugo González said the organizations contacted included regional media, mercantile, advertising, and printing companies. He added that BSA provided them with advice on finding out whether or not the software they currently use is pirated.
"This BSA initiative has a strong educational component," he said. "After an analysis carried out by BSA, we determined that many of the companies contacted were not aware of software rules and recognized that they could be making potentially detrimental decisions."
He said that using pirated software costs the local economy and could leave companies more susceptible to security vulnerabilities.
Tech consultancy IDC recently disclosed that up to 80% of all software installed in Guatemala is pirated, costing the national economy some US$41mn annually.
BSA's Latin American legal affairs director Montserrat Durán previously told BNamericas that Latin America's software piracy index decreased one percentage point to 65% last year. Still, BSA estimated that Latin American markets lost US$4.12bn to software piracy during 2007, representing a 32% increase over the US$3.13bn reported in 2006.
According to the executive, the increase in the level of economic losses despite the drop in the piracy index was mostly attributed to the dollar devaluation in front of Latin American currencies.